People with chronic migraine not only face higher medical costs and greater disability than people with episodic migraines, they are also more likely to have an average annual household income below $30,000. The difference, investigators suggest, may be due to the greater impact of headache on daily life.

If you have episodic (occasional) migraine and are depressed, what is your risk of having chronic migraine a year later compared to people with episodic migraine and no depression? That's the question researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York, asked. The answer: those with depression are two to three times more likely to develop chronic migraine, which is defined as 15 or more headache days per month with at least eight having migraine characteristics.

People with chronic migraine not only suffer from frequent headaches (15 or more per month), but tend to be in poorer health, experience more depression and anxiety and have lower incomes than individuals with episodic migraines. These new findings were drawn from the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) study, which has done regular surveys of 24,000 headache sufferers since 2004.

According to the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) Study1, more than 29 million Americans experience migraines, yet only about 48 percent who have the symptoms of migraine actually receive proper diagnosis. Migraine is a chronic neurologic disorder characterized by recurring attacks of head pain and associated symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting or extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Below is an overview of the National Headache Foundation's (NHF) Standards of Care for Headache Diagnosis and Treatment which include the U.S. Headache Consortium's recommendations for the proper diagnosis of and treatment options for migraine.

PHILADELPHIA, June 24, 2005 - Findings from the largest study of headache sufferers ever conducted sponsored by the National Headache Foundation were presented today. Results from the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) Study indicate that 40 percent of migraine sufferers – or nearly 12 million people – could benefit from preventive therapies. Of migraine sufferers in the study, only one in five Americans currently uses preventive therapies, however, millions could benefit from these treatments. The results, presented at the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Headache Society, underscore the need for more dialogue between healthcare providers and migraine sufferers to ensure all treatment options are explored. “The ultimate goal of every migraine patient and their healthcare provider is a life with fewer interruptions caused by migraine pain and disability,” said Richard B. Lipton, M.D., lead study researcher, professor and vice chair of neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and director of the Montefiore Headache Unit. “Preventive medications can decrease migraine occurrence by 50 to 80 percent, as well as reduce the severity and duration of migraines that do occur. Preventive treatment is considerably underused as demonstrated in this study.”